WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up Shopify Website
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Speed Up Shopify Website
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all vary in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is necessary to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Speed Up Shopify Website
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various projects because 2012. I do not use them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Speed Up Shopify Website
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complex your website is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a sluggish site does not imply that you require a bigger, better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Speed Up Shopify Website
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complicated the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they also provide global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up Shopify Website
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Speed Up Shopify Website
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard aspect of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or a cost.
I want to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all three need a financial investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually communicated with actually understood the fine operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up Shopify Website
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly due to the fact that their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are relatively uncomplicated:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website protected is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted customers who have been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a normally expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Speed Up Shopify Website
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, generally as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time repairing problems.
Basically, if your time is better allocated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Speed Up Shopify Website
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a crucial aspect, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any prior practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Speed Up Shopify Website
WP Engine excels not only on present features but also on producing new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web development finest practices have actually altered drastically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to integrate best practices into implementation & jobs with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many are valid since they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some customers. I do not utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up Shopify Website
All that said, here are some of the bigger picture drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be rather made complex– especially if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can result in some developers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website open up to the public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they already do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the general user. Speed Up Shopify Website
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to enjoy that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (once you get past the learning curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website checklists to help fix all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in most cases, support will just take care of all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Speed Up Shopify Website
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for good factors, however those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured allows for less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element extra hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Company. And this point goes even more if your website requires lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t actually do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for performance & not having to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Speed Up Shopify Website
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even consist of many of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, budget, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to worry about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Speed Up Shopify Website